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Tackling the Consumer Plastic Dilemma

Wrap-up - 29/05/2020

In this week's wrap up ... tackling the consumer plastic dilemma, from packaging's important role in food safety to answering the difficult questions. A surge in supermarket sales during crisis and news of an anti-germ food tray made from ocean waste. Plus a tough test for your food knowledge.

TACKLING THE CONSUMER PLASTIC DILEMMA 

Packaging's important role in food safety

The current coronavirus crisis has made consumers acutely aware of the importance of dependable packaging, hygiene, and safety. There has also been a growing appreciation of the value delivered by plastic, despite the need to solve environmental and waste problems. 

To emphasise packaging's important role in food safety, the Flexible Packaging Association has highlighted three ways food is preserved and protected:

  1. Barrier Properties - The barrier layer keeps oxygen out, aroma in, and extends the shelf life of food products.
  2. Seal Integrity - A strong seal prevents leakage, spoilage, and food waste in between use.
  3. Multilayer Structures - Multiple layers of thin plastic or other materials each work to serve a purpose in protecting and preserving food.

The detail is here >>

In "Lifting the Lid on Plastic: Food for thought on tackling food waste", we also look at how plastic packaging has a strong role to play in preventing wastage by protecting food and extending shelf life.

You can read the article here >>

BUT …

Packaging waste management system "needs overhaul"

The UK plastic packaging waste management system desperately needs overhauling, according to a new report from Brunel University London and the University of Leeds.

The authors of the report found that the current system of collecting and managing plastic packaging waste is discouraging efforts to invest in green infrastructure to exploit technological change.

They added that that problem has led to an over-dependence on exporting waste to markets with questionable recycling policies.

Discover more >>

HOWEVER …

Chemical recycling can be the answer

Recycling can address consumers' plastic dilemma so that they can rest assured their packaging isn't damaging the environment.

Chemical recycling, in particular, has an important role. Elena Parisi, Sales & Marketing Director at Recycling Technologies, has this week written: "Chemical recycling is starting to deliver exciting new technology to improve the economy in the plastics value chain (from linear to circular).

"It is crucial that this innovation is adopted at every stage of the value chain."

Elena also points out that "Avoiding plastic all together will likely lead to a nearly fourfold rise in our overall greenhouse gas emissions."

Read Elena's “Chemical recycling is happening” article >>

PLUS …

Recyclable mono-materials have been recommended in a position statement by CEFLEX to accelerate the circular economy for flexible packaging.

See more >>

FURTHER AFIELD …

Reusable plastic bags are a better option than single-use bags as they have a substantially lower environmental impact, according to a study in South Africa - but only if consumers reuse them.

More detail >>

AND WE LIFT THE LID ON PLASTIC …

Answering the difficult question with the 3 Ps - protect present preserve

Can I have a “P” please, Bob?” was once the UK’s favourite TV game-show catchphrase. Today, if questioned “What P is being blamed for causing pollution in our oceans?”, the quick-fire answer would be “Plastic”. 

But there is a lot more to the plastic question. And a few more “P”s as well. We explore the answers in the final part of our comprehensive series.

Read the concluding part of our series >>

SUPERMARKET NEWS

Surge in supermarket sales

Supermarket sales in the UK have risen by their fastest rate on record during the coronavirus crisis. Grocery shopping increased by 14.3% during the most recent three-month period, according to market research company Kantar.

In the latest four weeks, shoppers visited the supermarket 3.5 times per week on average, meaning 100 million fewer trips overall than the same month last year. But they increased spend each trip to £27.41 – nearly 50% more than they did during normal times.  

Find out more >>

Iceland cuts waste by nearly a quarter

Iceland has announced food waste reductions of almost 2500 tonnes, reflecting a decrease of 23.2% over the last two years.

The supermarket has donated nearly 375,000 meals in surplus food to communities across the UK.

And now a national trial is being rolled out to redistribute surplus food to staff in nearly 1000 stores, offering them the option of taking the food home or donating it to a local charity or cause.

Read more >>

TRAY NPD & OCEAN WASTE

New anti-germ food tray from ocean waste

A new anti-germ food tray that uses recycled ocean plastic waste has been developed by Parx Materials and Zincln. 

The process repurposes ropes and cages used in the fishing industry, and the trays are said to contain a trace element that is vital for the human immune system.

More information >>

Sail away on voyage into ocean plastics

You can sail away into this latest Packaging Europe podcast from Emily Penn, co-founder and mission director of eXXpedition, the all-female sailing voyage and scientific research mission investigating the causes of and solutions to ocean plastic pollution.

Listen here >>

AND FINALLY … TEST YOUR FOOD KNOWLEDGE …

Elvis Presley has had a sandwich named after him. What are the three main fillings?

Which country is the world’s biggest olive producer, based on tonnes produced per year?

Which celebrity chef released a single in the early 1990s called World Party? 

Try this ridiculously hard quiz >>

From the KM team … Stay Safe, Keep up the Good Work, Help Others ... and enjoy your weekend.

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Striking oil with plastic

In the Wrap-Up this week ... Striking oil with plastic. UK-wide recycling survey. Trays in the spotlight. Covid-resistant food trays. Talking about plastics in a wasteful society. And more …

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In the Wrap-Up this week ... Plastic is flying off the shelves. Why compostable packaging is crucial for food waste recycling. Clearing the coast of plastic waste. UK-wide interactive recycling map. Meet John Shipley, our international "champion". And more …

Compostable packaging boost for food waste recycling aims

Compostable packaging is crucial if food waste recycling is to be increased, according to a new report based on responses from experts across Europe.

The report, published by environmental consultancy Ricardo Energy, is being circulated to encourage the Government to support compostable packaging to help meet its food waste recycling objectives and reduce plastic contamination in organic waste streams.

Pete's on board to help boost our business growth

Our business growth strategy has been given a boost with the appointment of industry expert Pete Ford as Business Development Manager. He has responsibility for growing sales in existing product sectors and developing new product markets across the UK, Ireland, and Europe.

Up in Arms Over 'War on Plastic'

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Packaging’s Primary Protection Function

Our round-up of what's been happening in the world of flexible packaging this week. 

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